#91 In Roads-Transplant


The city of Sturgis is slowly morphing into the town that residents call home. The temporary structures on Main Street are being disassembled, tents are disappearing from front lawns and quiet has returned to the Black Hills. It’s back to the Mayberry way of life.

A local restaurant has brought back its regular menu, the one bikers are not offered during rally, and tonight was soul food night. Regulars fill the place for a tasty buffet and the wait staff seems much less stressed. Our beaming little waitress is named Meredith and she’s patient as our conversation keeps her from her other tables. Nothing seems to bother her.

“I came out here in 2010, then went home and packed my stuff. I moved here in 2011.” I ask where home was before and the answer made me giggle. I had to ask three times then asked her to spell it before I finally got the name of her hometown. She laughs and pronounces it very slowly. “It’s Bemidji and I think the population is about 12,000 so no, not a lot of people there.”

The 25-year old with the bright smile says she had a great time during the rally. “We were busy, yes, but it wasn’t that crazy insane kind of busy like it can get sometimes. Working at Jambonz is really different, though. It was great here and people were nice, not as stressed. I enjoyed the rally this time. I used to work on the other side of town, but I love it here and I’ll be here when you come back next year. I’m not going anywhere. They can’t get rid of me, now,” she declares with a huge grin. I ask to take her photo and she immediately agrees and poses. Never asking why, she just continues cheerfully chatting.

After leaving, I looked up the city with the goofy name. She was close; the population was 13,431 at the last census. It’s the central hub of three Indian reservations, is deemed the first city on the Mississippi and holds the distinction of being called the “curling capital” of the U.S. My hat’s off to Bemidji, Minnesota.


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